KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said that the Barisan Nasional-led federal government must sack the entire board of debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) or risk being booted out of Putrajaya come the next national polls.
He said he could not fathom how the state-owned investment fund managed to rack up such a huge debt pile in a short span of time.
“If the company were mine, and I wake up in the morning and hear reports of such astonishing issues happening... for no good reason the CEO borrows RM10 billion and every month I have to pay RM100 or RM200 million in interest,” he said in a video posted on a blog called APANAMA.
“What do you do? Buang lah (remove lah). The CEO, buang. And not just remove, call the police to investigate, take action.
“Then the rakyat will see, ‘haa, now the government leadership is taking responsiblity, taking serious action’,” he said in the seven minute and four second clip.
The video was shot about a week ago at an Umno training session in Janda Baik, Pahang sometime after the last Umno Supreme Council meeting, according to Firdaus Abdullah who runs the blog.
He, however, could not say who shot the video nor did he have any other details of the event where it was recorded.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been under pressure of late over his handling of the 1MDB fiasco, with his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly demanding that he step down for allowing the fund to accumulate some RM42 billion in debt to date from the time it was incorporated in 2009.
Most recently, the fund was pilloried after the finance ministry — which Najib also heads — declared that the US$1.103 billion (RM3.91 billion) that 1MDB redeemed from its offshore account in the Cayman Islands into a Singaporean bank is not in actual cash but assets.
This added to public anger over an expose on RM188.5 million paid to 1MDB by pilgrimage fund Lembaga Tabung Haji for 1.5 acres in the Tun Razak Exchange, and also some RM3 billion invested by the Employees Provident Fund and Retirement Fund Inc in the controversial fund.
Muhyiddin said he was not out to challenge Najib’s leadership, but stressed that Putrajaya’s inaction has left them with no answers to the multitude of questions on 1MDB’s activities.
“How is it in a such a short time a (government) guaranteed company can take on RM42 billion in liabilities. I cannot imagine such a thing.
“My officers sent me so many questions in Parliament (related to 1MDB). How are we going to respond, I don’t know,” he said in the video, which also showed Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan and Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob sitting in the front row.
Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said it is high time that Najib and his administration “take the bull by the horn” and prove to the public that they are transparent and responsible.
“I am going to be (BN) election director. Earlier someone asked, ‘are you going to be the last one to hand over power to the opposition?’ I have no answer.
“(If 1MDB is not settled) this will drag us down to the bottom. We have to take action, we cannot go ‘takpe lah, bagi masa sikit’ (it’s fine, just give it some time)... we cannot,” he said.